Serial entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar is the founder and driving force behind the Mara Group, a globally recognised investor group. Due to sound investments and operations, the group currently employs over eleven thousand people across twenty-five African states. Sectors covered include financial services, real estate, technology, and infrastructure.
Born in the United Kingdom of Ugandan refugees, the family returned to Uganda after the establishment of stability in the country. Ashish Thakkar, still at school at the time, started his first business in 1996. He was fifteen years old at the time. His IT business took off and the rest, as they say, is history.
Passionate about enabling, empowering, and inspiring young as well as female entrepreneurs, Ashish Thakkar founded the Mara Foundation. The aims of the foundation include the fostering and support of emerging entrepreneurs. This it does through mentorship as well as venture philanthropy. Mara Mentor, of the Mara Foundation’s initiatives, is an online platform connecting entrepreneurs and business leaders, not only in Africa but across the globe.
Ashish Thakkar sports many achievements. In 2012, for example, The World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader for his successful leadership and initiatives in Africa. He was awarded the Future Awards ‘Young Leader” two years later and was one of the first Africans featured on the under 40 list of Fortune’s 40 the same year.
In 2015, he won the Financial Times Boldness in Business Award which recognised his achievement in developing markets. The same year saw him announced as the United Nationals Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council chairperson.
Ashish Thakkar published The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa’s Economic Miracle. These days he advises several Sub-Saharan heads of state and sits on the Board of The Africa Centre. This creative space is found on New York’s Fifth Avenue. He is also set on becoming Africa’s second astronaut when he joins Virgin Galactic’s first space voyage.
As a conference speaker, Ashish Thakkar speaks on a variety of topics, ranging from refugees, investment, and strategic partnerships right through to empowering women and proper business ethics.
Ashish Thakkar travels from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and presents in English.